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Some 13 per cent of US medical schools have had cases of medical students posting unprofessional content online, including incidents where patient confidentiality was violated, according to a new study.
AdvertisementIt also found that few schools have policies to deal with such transgressions.
The information was provided by medical school administrators as part of a survey into students' behaviour online, reports New Scientist.
According to Katherine Chretien, a clinician-educator at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington DC, who led the survey, such a behaviour is a potential violation of patient confidentiality laws.
Researchers sent an anonymous survey to 130 medical schools in the Association of American Medical Colleges and received 78 responses. Of the schools that responded, 47 (60 percent) reported incidents involving students posting unprofessional content.
The students didn't name names, but did provide enough personal information, such as the medical condition involved and hospital, for patients or their families to recognise who is being described.
The study has been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.